Dutch stir more fun, family, leisure into boat show recipe.

LEEUWARDEN _ True to tradition, Boot Holland (Feb. 8-13) opens a new boating season with a hefty line-up of craft from 250 Dutch and foreign yards. As always, steel yachts enjoy pride of place. There’ll be a record 40 of them this year, from 9 to 17m, lining a big dock at the indoor event.

Visitors _ especially from Germany’s Ruhr area (pop. 14 million, only 200 kms/124 mi away) _ expect nothing less. Dutch builders specialize in steel, a material that lets them customize dayboats, motor cruisers and superyachts to a great degree.

But in 2019, visitors can expect new stuff at shows across the Netherlands and elsewhere.

Boot Holland

The video revolution, new technologies, digital marketing and demographic shifts are changing the boating business and make the ‘Grow Boating’ movement go global. Boat shows are casting their nets wider to reel in new audiences as old ones gray and fade. They go for family fun, do-and-see stuff and lifestyle activities.

Boot Holland’s inaugural Recreation Pavilion will host marinas, charterers, boating regions and vendors of camping, hotel and lifestyle activities.

HISWA Holland Marine, the Dutch trade lobby, is betting on new holiday, ownership and rental formulas to end the graying of boaters that is emptying Dutch marinas. It is merging with the Dutch tourism sector lobby to tap new markets. The March 6-10 HISWA Amsterdam Boat Show will feature boating regions with hotel deals and other activities that mesh nicely with boating.

It will have an InnovationLab where start-ups show alternative rental options, 3D-printed tenders, their work on shifting to fully electric boating or how they help youngster’s do better at school through sailing. The 2019 Start-Up Lane was fully booked months ahead of the event.